In a decision that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick ruled today that the state has failed to meet its “paramount duty” to make “ample provision for the education of all children,” as required by Washington’s Constitution, and ordered the state to provide stable and dependable funding to do so.
In response, Gov. Gregoire issued the following statement:
“Improving the quality of our schools and the education system has been, and remains, the top priority of our state. I agree with the court that we have a duty to provide a high quality education to our children.
Working with my staff and the Attorney General’s Office, I will be reviewing this decision to determine where we go from here.
Last year we passed significant legislation that would institute major funding reforms to ensure the necessary resources and programs to help every student succeed. That work must continue.
Regardless of whether this decision is upheld, I will continue working with the legislature to improve school accountability, close the achievement gap and ensure we provide our children opportunities for success in the global marketplace in which they will be competing. The legislative process is the best avenue we have available to determine those components.
Right now there is legislation being considered that would reform our education system. In light of this decision, I think it’s even more important that we pass these proposals that will put us in a better position to improve educational opportunities for every student in our state.”
To which I say: Show me the money!
That was always my problem with last year’s education reform package. It promised improvements that would cost an extra billion dollars or so by 2018, but it never actually provided the funding mechanism to make it happen. Meanwhile, school funding has been substantially slashed in the here and now.
The truth is, education reform without tax structure reform is a hollow promise, and we’ll never be able to sustainably fund K-12 and higher education until we move to a fairer and more adequate tax system. Everything else is just talk.